A recent study has shown that iPhone 5 users are the 'hungriest' data consumers, demanding more than 50 percent more data than their iPhone 4S using counterparts and four times as much as iPhone 3G users.
The study conducted by Arieso also showed that smartphone users consume far more data than tablet users. While 40 percent of all data is consumed by only 1 percent of power users, LTE 4G networks are starting to take the strain, the study said. Last year, the study revealed that 1 percent of users consume 50 percent of the downlink data on 3G/UMTS networks.
Arieso's study was conducted with 125 different devices and 'billions of mobile connections' in Europe. Users of iPhone 5 have trumped not just users of other devices, but also of older iPhone variants to come out as the biggest data demanders.
“This is effectively the continuation of a kind of Moore's law where every new generation of the iPhone consumes 50 or 60 percent more data than the previous one,” said Arieso's CTO Michael Flanagan.
HTC Sensation XL users are second most data-hungry followed by Samsung Galaxy S III users, both of which consume three times as much data as iPhone 3G users
On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone users have emerged as the upload leaders with four times more uploads of photos and videos compared to iPhone 3GS users. S III users topped the list for uplink data usage, leaving Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and iPhone 5 users behind too.
As far as tablets go, Android trumped iOS with Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 users shown as 20 percent more demanding than iPad users. Of the ten hungriest devices, Arieso found that there were six smartphones, three tablets and one phablet.
LTE introduces much-needed bandwidth and relieves pressure on UMTS networks. However, the study says, operators cannot relax their focus on network planning, optimisation and performance – LTE holds a sting in its tail.
“For three years now we’ve seen how greater technical capabilities lead to greater data consumption by consumers. From our own experience helping operators around the world prepare their networks for evolving user demands, we hypothesise that LTE alone won’t ‘solve’ the data problem – it will exacerbate it,” warned Flanagan.
The report also says that to effectively meet the needs and expectations of LTE customers and extreme users, a different approach to network design is required. Small cells will be important, but the placing and management of these assets must be undertaken with even greater surgical precision.